June is Pride Month
Each year, the month of June is dedicated to celebrating and honoring LGBTQI+ communities and individuals. Pride Month recognizes the impact that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and individuals of other gender and sexual identities have had on the world. It also honors members of the community who have been lost, especially to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.
STESA would also like to take this opportunity to provide education on the issue of sexual assault. LGBTQI+ individuals are at increased risk of sexual assault, particularly due to harmful stereotypes and myths about LGBTQI+ experiences. Many sexual assaults perpetrated against these individuals are hate crimes, committed with the intent to punish the target for their perceived nonconformity to traditional gender and sexual norms. In a study of 273 participants identifying as gay or lesbian, 52% of the participants reported at least one incident of sexual assault/coercion.
Perpetrators of sexual assault are often someone the survivor knows. According to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 44% of lesbians and 61% of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner. Similarly, 26% of gay men and 37% of bisexual men experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.
LGBTQI+ individuals also face unique challenges to healing from sexual assault due to barriers to access to resources, especially medical and legal resources. For example, LGBTQI+ survivors may be reluctant to disclose their assault out of fear that non-LGBTQI+ communities will reinforce the myth that LGBTQI+ relationships are dysfunctional. Additionally, the survivor may not be “out” and fear that coming forward will reveal the survivor’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity, resulting in negative repercussions from non-LGBTQI+ communities.
Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA) provides confidential counseling and support services to survivors of sexual assault and their loved ones. Through education and awareness, STESA is committed to change the cultural norms that enable sexual assault to exist. Our service area extends from Carpinteria to the Santa Ynez Valley.
Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA) – Formerly the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center, empowers people through healing and social change to eliminate all forms of sexual violence. We are committed to transforming lives by providing services and education to meet the needs of our diverse community.
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Do Something Big
Granados has come to know the stigma that sexual assualt survivors face in a strangely institutional way: leasing office space.
She recalls trying to lease an office at Mission and State. The landlord said they could rent it but couldn’t put their name on the building directory. At the time STESA was called the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. When Granados asked how a client might find them, the landlord told her she could put up signage as long as the center dropped the word crisis.
“No,” Granados quipped. “We can’t be called the Santa Barbara Rape Center. We aren’t raping anyone.”
Another landlord ended a lunch meeting with a rape joke. “It was right there in my face – the stigma that sexual assault survivors face.”
More than forty years in, and Granados knows it’s time for STESA to buy office space of its own.
STESA is looking to raise $2 million to build a dedicated space to combat sexual violence of all kinds.
Board of Directors
Lindsay Walter, President
Jacqueline Duran, Vice President
Ethan Bertrand, Secretary
Tina Wooton, Treasurer
Sarah Ali Khan